Design and Build Quality
Most brands that launch compact system cameras have adopted a retro style in a throwback to the cameras that were available in the 1960s. This camera is no different, owing to which it can easily be classified as one of the most stylish cameras to grace the market. Earlier, we reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and that was a small camera in comparison to other Micro Four Thirds cameras. This model is not as compact, but it is not that large either. The design is aimed at those interested in purchasing a professional-looking, mirrorless camera. This model comes in two colour options: black with silver and red highlights, and silver with black and red highlights. The design for this model is a stark contrast to the Panasonic DMC-GF3 and the Nikon 1J1 cameras, as these had modern stylings.
The inclusion of a hand grip here is great as most other compact system cameras do not come with one, which may make it a risky affair, considering the price bracket it falls under. Besides the lens mount, the only other feature found at the front is the AF assist. This keeps the camera styling minimalistic and visually pleasing. The camera features a 3-inch touchscreen display at the back, besides which all the controls are found. The brand has added a variety of buttons for quickly accessing various key features, such as ISO and white balance, AF/ MF and a host of other options, making it very convenient to use and one does not even need to go into the menu.
The thumb grip at the rear complements the hand grip at the front, allowing one to easily handle the camera. Besides the buttons located here, Panasonic has also added controls at the top, which include a mode dial, a dedicated video recording button, a shutter release button, an intelligent auto button and a switch for powering it on or off. On the top, there is also the flash that is housed within the body of the camera. This can be deployed by using a switch found at the back. Since Panasonic has not added a viewfinder on the camera, they have added a hot shoe, allowing one to attach an external one. The exclusion of a viewfinder on this camera is a bit disappointing, as rival brand Nikon has added this feature on their V1, which is priced similarly.
Connectivity options for the camera are located on the side of the camera body. These include ports for a remote, a mini HDMI cable and a proprietary USB cable. Panasonic, like most compact camera manufacturers, has added an SD card slot in the battery bay. This is a common feature found on practically all compact cameras, but we wish that the brand had implemented it differently by locating it at the side, so one could easily swap the card without needing to power the camera off.
The overall build quality of the camera is excellent, and this is all attributed to the fact that it is made entirely out of metal. It is built really well and it appears like it can withstand a few accidental bumps and spills.